Wapping – The Pool (or, The Large Pool)


James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Wapping – The Pool (or, The Large Pool), etching, 1878-9, signed in pencil lower margin with the butterfly, dated 1879 and annotated “imp”, also titled and dedicated to James Waddell. References: Kennedy 174, fifth state (of 7), Glasgow 180, seventh state (of 8). On laid paper with a Strasbourg Lily and initials WR watermark. In good condition (tiny fox mark at lower center), with wide margins. 7 3/8 x 10 7/8 inches, the sheet 9 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches, archival mounting.

Provenance: H. Wunderlich and Co., New York (with their stock number a25414 verso)

A. LE MASSON (cf Lugt 1746, with his collector’s mark, in pencil, not a stamp, verso). He is known to have had an impression of Wapping which was sold at Sothebys May 16, 1878.

James Waddell (see below)

A fine impression of this extremely rare print, signed in pencil with the early large shaded butterfly (butterfly of 1879). This print was not published; the Whistler Etchings Project at Glasgow has identified a total of 13 impressions in all states.

James Waddell was the accountant appointed to oversee the reclamation of Whistler’s artworks after his 1879 bankruptcy.

The Large Pool shows the Pool of London at Wapping, the scene of several prints of the Thames done some twenty years earlier. In composition it anticipates the etchings Whistler was about to do in Venice.

According to the Glasgow catalogue Whistler apparently had a high regard for this plate, as evidenced by the care he took with selection of papers and printing of various states, and by correspondence regarding the plate; and he may have hoped it would help him avert bankruptcy.  But it did not; in the end no edition of the print was made.